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Myanmar insurance market liberalisation update

23 January 2019

Invitations for Expressions of Interest in forming life and non-life joint ventures in Myanmar have now been issued by the Financial Regulatory Department.

Although the associated conditions are not unexpected, there may be some disappointment that foreign ownership has been capped at 35%. That places Myanmar among the most restrictive foreign investment regimes for insurance in south-east Asia.

Minimum capital for non-life insurance business remains unchanged at approximately USD 25.95 million. Again, this is a high level for the region and may entail foreign insurance groups having to commit substantial funds for a minority stake.

Local insurers have to pair with a single potential foreign partner that has a Myanmar representative office. Potential foreign partners can only participate in one response to the Invitations.

Shortlisted candidates for joint venture licences are to be announced on 17 May 2019. They will then be required to submit a more detailed proposal for the joint venture.

More positively, foreign life insurers - with or without a Myanmar representative office - can apply to form a 100% owned subsidiary. The capital requirements are more reasonable. Up to 3 licenses will be issued for these subsidiaries.

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